March 2, 2013
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Runs in consecutive innings with two more tacked on in the seventh erased a 2-1 Western Carolina lead to give the Hofstra Pride a 5-2 victory over the Catamounts in a snowy game one of a three-game series at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Left fielder Kenny Jackson and short stop Robbie Cafiero each tallied two hits and two RBI to pick up Hofstra's third win (3-6) of the season while dropping the Catamounts to 4-6.
Jordan Smith started the game off with three straight strike outs in the first inning. The Catamounts responded to their pitcher's effort by picking up the first run of the game as Bradley Strong scored from second on a throwing error by the Hofstra short stop on a routine ground ball hit by Tyler White.
The Pride came back with a run of their own in the top of the second as Jared Hammer scored from second as short stop Robbie Cafiero redeemed himself of his first inning error with a single to center field to knot the game at one.
In the bottom of the second, WCU scored again as J.D. Long tallied his first career hit, a long double that rolled to the right-center wall to score Cody Jones from first to give the Catamounts a 2-1 lead and what would be their final run of the ballgame.
Hofstra's catcher Matt Reistetter hit a bloop single to right field to score Cafiero who reached on a walk to again even the score in the top of the fourth at two runs apiece before left fielder Kenny Jackson hit a line drive home run over the right field fence to give Hofstra its first lead of the game in the top of the fifth.
With Hofstra's Kenny Jackson on second with one out, head coach Bobby Moranda went to his bullpen to put in LHP Bryce Danielson. Hofstra tacked on another run off a single by Kenny Jackson - the first to face Danielson - to right, scoring Taylor Stuart from second. Third baseman Joe Perez then hit a double to left field to end the day for Danielson and bring in RHP Jonathan Waszak with two runners in scoring position and one out. Waszak struck out the first batter he faced before Cafiero picked up his second RBI of the game on a single to left. Perez tried to score from second, but Catamount left fielder Austin Neary gunned him out at the plate with catcher Danny Bermudez putting down the tag. With the run scored, Hofstra took a 5-2 lead entering the bottom half of the seventh.
The Pride went with RHP Andrew Barbarino in the bottom of the seventh who gave up no runs heading to the bottom of the ninth. After giving up a lead-off single to Cody Jones, the Pride went to RHP Bryan Verbitsky. Verbitsky struck out Bermudez before Luke Gragg put runners on the corners as he reached first on a ground ball that went right between the short stop's legs with one out for Austin Neary. Neary popped up to left field, bringing the Catamounts to its final out. Gragg advanced to second on a wild pitch before Bradley Strong struck out, giving the Pride the 5-2 win and the 1-0 advantage in the series.
Cody Jones led Western Carolina offensively as the only Catamount recording more than one hit, going 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of singles. Freshman J.D. Long picked up WCU's lone RBI - also his first RBI - in the bottom of the second. Catamount starting pitcher Jordan Smith went 6.1 innings giving up seven hits, four runs and five strike outs to three walks on the day. Jonathan Waszakgave WCU 2.2 innings of excellent relief, giving up just one hit and no runs. Pride starter Joe Burg pitched six and gave up two runs, just one of them earned. Hofstra closer Bryan Verbitsky picked up his third save of the season.
The two teams tangle again tomorrow with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. The second game will start approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first.
Fans can follow all of the action of both games online with live streaming audio (free) and live GameTracker (free) on CatamountSports.com with live streaming video (subscription) through Catamount All-Access.